ABC’s May ‘Anatomy’

Net boosts sweep sked

“Grey’s Anatomy” is moving to Monday nights — at least for a week.

Separately, NBC seems to have pulled the plug on struggling sitcom “Four Kings,” yanking the skein from its sked effective immediately.

As for “Grey’s,” in a bid to maximize its hottest hit, Alphabet will air “Grey’s” second-season finale as a three-hour, two-night event on May 14-15. First hour will air in the skein’s regular 10 p.m. Sunday slot, while the final two hours will air Monday, May 15, from 9-11 p.m.

Scheduling is part of a larger effort by ABC to sprint to the end of the season by serving up two-hour finales of its biggest shows, including “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

In the case of “Grey’s,” scheduling could also be something of an experiment to test how the hit medical drama performs on another night and without a “Housewives” lead-in. Not so coincidentally, ABC will announce its 2006-07 schedule to advertisers the day after “Grey’s” season-ender.

Bader wouldn’t talk about ABC’s fall schedule plans. As for the supersized finales, he said the net is building on a strategy it began last year when it expanded the final segs of “Lost” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

“We wanted to make big events out of our finales,” he said, noting that when ABC had a slew of top comedies on the air back in the 1990s, it regularly expanded those finales to an hour.

“We’re trying to make a bigger splash,” Bader added.

With “Grey’s,” net had 27 episodes to air this season and needed to squeeze an extra seg into the May sweeps. Bader said airing the finale over two nights effectively turned the final segs into a miniseries of sorts.

Fox uses a similar two-night strategy to launch each new season of “24.”

ABC’s two-hour finale fest continues May 16 with the wrap-up of “Boston Legal” and May 19 with the season swan song for “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Both “Makeover” and “Housewives” will end their seasons on May 21.

Last three days of the season will boast the series sign-off for “Alias” (Monday, May 22) and the sophomore season-ender of “Lost” (Wednesday, May 24).

ABC’s other sweeps scheduling includes the Stephen King pic “Desperation” on Thursday, May 18 (8-11 p.m.) and the season finale of “Invasion” on May 17.

To help drum up interest in “Invasion,” net will air a 10-hour marathon of the show on sister cabler ABC Family on April 15.

Over at NBC, net has said it was pulling this week’s “Four Kings” in favor of a “My Name Is Earl” repeat. “Earl” reruns are expected to stay in the timeslot for the next few weeks.

Peacock sked play is no surprise. “Kings” took a big dip from its “Will & Grace” lead-in last week, helping drive down ratings for an original “Earl” at 9.

While NBC won’t officially say that “Kings” has been permanently dethroned, it seems unlikely the show will return before summer, and a second-season pickup seems a long shot.

Elsewhere, Peacock continues adding more hours of hot quizzer “Deal or No Deal.” Net will expand the show to two hours on Monday, April 2 — the same night as the NCAA finals. “The Apprentice” shifts to 10 p.m. that night.

NBC has already added a few Wednesday runs of “Deal” to its sked.